There seems to be ongoing discussion regarding whether or not prayer is helpful.
The Humanist Charity organisation “Responsible Charity” responded to the PrayForNepal post with a critical Facebook post ‘Prayers aren’t helping the Nepal earthquake victims; donations, volunteers and deployment of rescuers and professionals on the ground is what they need!’
The pro prayer group suggest that the key to this idea of prayer is intentionality. By praying we invoke, intend, or otherwise seek to induce an outcome to an event that is different from a passive outlook. If we look at prayer as a subset of intention, we can see that prayer is actually a universal form that is broader than any one religion, or spiritual practise.
I don,t know what the best way is and I am not convinced of others claims that they do. Having been involved in development work I have seen the damage and destruction caused by well intended organizations that claim they know what is needed. And I am not really convinced about research measuring the effects of prayer. I have one prayer that I turn to. I ask that I be shown the way and that I might see the light. I know from this place that I might come to be be whole in my intentions and actions. Maybe that is what the “pro player” side is suggesting in some way.
My wife and I have friends in Nepal and this is very much on our minds these days. I have no prayers to offer. It,s not that I oppose this but more about trusting in where an open heart leads, so I attempt to bring awareness to the things that block the heart. Wendel Berry,s poem expresses my experience.
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.